Frustration with academic writing often stems from our understanding of what writing involves. Students tend to view academic writing as a grueling but necessary task performed for a grade and disconnected from the rest of their lives. As instructors we might lament the quality of student writing while approaching our own writing with the same distaste our students experience. This is generally because we share, at least to some degree, our studentsâ€™ definition of academic writing.
In contrast to a view of academic writing as an isolated task performed to satisfy the arbitrary demands of a single authority, this site promotes writing as an interactive and ongoing activity that engages a writer and an audience for a clear and significant purpose that helps determine the writerâ€™s focus. Purpose, audience, and focus are key elements of the rhetorical context for any piece of writing.
The links below offer a discussion of rhetorical context as a foundation for making studentsâ€™ writing matter, connecting writing to course content, and reconciling academic and â€œreal worldâ€� writing.